Monday, January 28, 2008

Ottawa Celebrations, Days 1 and 2

Hello friends! As some of you know, I am in Ottawa currently for the 20th anniversary of the Morgentaler decision. I am here thanks to Canadians for Choice, who chose my essay on "Why a pro-choice Canada is important" as the winner of their national contest. I arrived yesterday, so I thought it might be fun to blog a bit about what has been going on since then.

Day 1

I arrived in Ottawa on Sunday night and successfully navigated my way to the big yellow shuttle that takes people to their hotels. Fun! My hotel suite is bigger than my apartment, which is definitely bittersweet. When I arrived here I was starving, and so was pleased to see there was already a message for me from JD, one of my friends who works here in O-town. I felt very posh, picking up my messages at the front desk; an illusion that was effectively shattered by my lack of a suitcase (it's all about the backpack) and mittens-on-a-string. Ah well.

JD and I hit a local Mexican restaurant that had a very cantina feel, right down to the counter where you have to order and pay. A mariachi band even came halfway through the meal, to squash themselves into the already overcrowded restaurant and serenade a birthday girl. It was kind of a surreal experience. Afterwards we were pretty glad we went, and JD slipped the band a handsome tip for their trouble.

We hit a couple of bars with JD's work friends, but I didn't want to stay out to late or drink too much as I had an early morning ahead of me. When I got back to the hotel I had to spend some time scrubbing the bar stamps off my hands - they were definitely not part of the professional image I was trying to project.

Day 2

Today I was up bright and early to meet Jessica, who has been my main contact at Canadians for Choice. She and I walked to the CFC office where I met a lot of very awesome people. We hung out, had breakfast, and finished collating the press kits and doing all that last minute stuff. Then we hopped in a couple taxis and took off for Parliament.

The press conference was nerve-wracking, as I had expected it to be. I'm not a big media person and I don't have a lot of experience speaking to the media, although I think I do alright as a public speaker. Anyway, I only had ninety seconds to speak about my experiences as a clinic escort. I whipped right through it, although afterwards it dawned on me that I may have taken more time than I should have. Oh well. Most of the questions were sort of general, so the more experienced women I was with fielded them. One of them was about bubble zones, so I took that one. I was surprised to find that while there was some progressive media present, all of the questions were from anti-choice journalists. Luckily we knocked them out of the park.

Afterwards we went for a celebratory lunch, and then I bid farewell (for now) to my new friends. I was supposed to have an interview by phone this afternoon but I haven't heard anything since, so I'm breathing a sigh of relief about that. I feel very over-stimulated. Tonight I am looking forward to dinner with my good bud LC and her boyfriend (Thai food! Hoorah!), and a relaxing swim in the ol' hotel pool. Although I did forget my bathing suit. So I might be swimming in my kitty cat pyjamas. Which leads on to wonder what I will wear to bed. Oh well, all questions better answered with a little wine in me.

I wish you all a happy Morgentaler day (hee hee) and I hope all is well wherever you are.


Amy O said...

I'm sure you are awesome at public speaking. You had lots of experience as a leader and when you were Prez.

Feminist Catalyst said...

I stumbled across your blog through the Feminist Blog Awards, so first things first - KUDOS! A victory well deserved I see.

Secondly, I'm friends with the fabulous Jessica from CFC and so reading your blog gave me this insane 6th degrees-Kevin Bacon-deja vu experience. Very trippy stuff.

Congrats on the Blog Award and the CFC award, too. I shall officially be lurking you now..